Broadneck High renovation to cost nearly $1 million more

September 11, 1995|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,Sun Staff Writer

The cost of enlarging and renovating Broadneck High School will rise nearly $1 million because planners did not include money for replacing the ventilation system.

School officials set the price for the $25 million project this spring without waiting for an engineer to review the school's mechanical systems.

His recently completed study recommends replacing much of the equipment that pumps air through the school, at a cost of $955,000.

School board members acknowledge they were told of the study during winter budget deliberations, but said they did not expect it to increase the cost of the Broadneck project.

"It should have been done initially," school board President Joseph H. Foster said of the study.

School planners defended their work, noting that the scope of the project changed during the design phase.

Initially, the building's ventilation system was going to be replaced because it would not meet 1993 building codes, said Mark F. Moran, supervisor of design and engineering.

But when the price of a full-scale renovation exceeded what school administrators wanted to spend, the project was scaled back last winter and planners decided to study the mechanical systems, he said.

Mr. Foster and his board will have to ask for the extra money from the County Council, which has been critical of school planners, and County Executive John G. Gary, who wants to take over school construction projects.

"The council -- I believe they are going to be upset. I am upset," said school board member and former President Thomas Twombly.

Mr. Foster agreed that council members "probably are going to look very unfavorably on this."

Larry Telford, Mr. Gary's spokesman, said the county executive will look into it, but would not comment yet. Council President Diane Evans, who pushed hard for improvements to the school, which is in her district, could not be reached.

County Council members criticized school officials early this year when planners acknowledged that renovations at media centers seven schools would each cost $120,000 instead of $50,000 because they used outdated construction figures.

At least four other projects have hit major snags:

* Architectural errors at the new Solley Elementary School caused problems that cost several hundred thousand dollars to fix. For example, air conditioning and heating units would not fit into the space architects had allotted.

* Park Elementary, under construction in Brooklyn Park, was delayed because construction drawings based on the Solley plans were used.

* South Shore Elementary had to be redesigned because bids came in much higher than expected. The school now will cost $8.8 million instead of $6.2 million.

* Problems in securing the site for Meade Heights Elementary at Fort Meade have caused delays and added about $1.2 million to construction costs. The school will cost an estimated $11 million.

Work on Broadneck is scheduled for the 1996-1997 school year, though some paving was done over the summer.

Students are to attend classes in the Severn River Junior High School building during the 1996-1997 school year while the high school is renovated. Students at Severn River and its companion school, Magothy River Middle School, would attend classes in split sessions for one year in the Magothy River building.

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